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As they stood in their beauty and strength by my side,
Tall like their sire, with the princely grace
Of his stately form, and the bloom of his face.

"O, what an hour for a mother's heart,
When the pitiless ruffians tore us apart!
When I clasped their knees and wept and prayed,
And struggled and shrieked to Heaven for aid,
And clung to my sons with desperate strength,
Till the murderers loosed my hold at length,
And bore me breathless and faint aside,
In their iron arms, while my children died.
They died, and the mother that gave them birth
Is forbid to cover their bones with earth.

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"The barley-harvest was nodding white,
When my children died on the rocky height,
And the reapers were singing on hill and plain,
When I came to my task of sorrow and pain.
But now the season of rain is nigh,
The sun is dim in the thickening sky,

And the clouds in sullen darkness rest

Where he hides his light at the doors of the west.
I hear the howl of the wind that brings
The long drear storm on its heavy wings;
But the howling wind and the driving rain
Will beat on my houseless head in vain:
I shall stay, from my murdered sons to scare
The beasts of the desert and fowls of air."

William Cullen Bryant.



HY beauty, Israel, is fled,
Sunk to the dead;

How are the valiant fallen! the slain
Thy mountains stain.

O, let it not in Gath be known,
Nor in the streets of Ashkelon.

Lest that sad story should excite
Their dire delight!

Lest in the torrent of our woe

Their pleasure flow;

Lest their triumphant daughters ring
Their cymbals, and their pæans sing.

Yon hills of Gilboa, never may
You offerings pay;

No morning dew, nor fruitful showers,
Clothe you with flowers:

Saul and his arms there made a spoil,
As if untouched with sacred oil.

The bow of noble Jonathan
Great battles won;
His arrows on the mighty fed,
With slaughter red.

Saul never raised his arm in vain,
His sword still glutted with the slain.

How lovely! O, how pleasant! when
They lived with men!

Than eagles swifter, stronger far

Than lions are;

Whom love in life so strongly tied,
The stroke of death could not divide.

Sad Israel's daughters, weep for Saul;
Lament his fall,

Who fed you with the earth's increase,
And crowned with peace;

With robes of Tyrian purple decked,
And gems which sparkling light reflect.

How are thy worthies by the sword
Of war devoured!

O Jonathan! the better part
Of my torn heart!

The savage rocks have drunk thy blood:
My brother! O, how kind! how good!

Thy love was great; O, never more
To man man bore!

No woman when most passionate
Loved at that rate!

How are the mighty fallen in fight!
They and their glory, set in night!

George Sandys.

Ere I tell,


AID Abner, “At last thou art come!


ere thou speak,

Kiss my cheek, wish me well!" Then I wished it,

And did kiss his cheek:

And he, "Since the king, O my friend,


For thy countenance sent,

Nor drunken nor eaten have we;

Nor, until from his tent

Thou return with the joyful assurance
The king liveth yet,

Shall our lip with the honey be brightened,
The water be wet.

"For out of the black mid-tent's silence,
A space of three days,

No sound hath escaped to thy servants,
Of prayer nor of praise,

To betoken that Saul and the Spirit
Have ended their strife,

And that faint in his triumph the monarch
Sinks back upon life.

"Yet now my heart leaps, O beloved! God's child, with his dew

On thy gracious gold hair, and those lilies

Still living and blue

As thou break'st them to twine round thy harp-strings, As if no wild heat

Were raging to torture the desert!"
Then I, as was meet,

Knelt down to the God of my fathers,

And rose on my feet,

And ran o'er the sand burnt to powder.
The tent was unlooped;

I pulled up the spear that obstructed,
And under I stooped;

Hands and knees o'er the slippery grass-patch
All withered and gone,

That leads to the second enclosure,

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I groped my way on,

Till I felt where the foldskirts fly open;

Then once more I prayed,

And opened the foldskirts and entered,
And was not afraid;

And spoke, "Here is David, thy servant!"
And no voice replied;

And first I saw naught but the blackness,
But soon I descried

A something more black than the blackness;
The vast, the upright

Main-prop which sustains the pavilion,

And slow into sight

Grew a figure, gigantic, against it,

And blackest of all;

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Then a sunbeam, that burst through the tent-roof,

Showed Saul.

He stood as erect as that tent-prop;

Both arms stretched out wide

On the great cross-support in the centre

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